13.5 C
Saturday, June 10, 2023
HomeAustraliaHow to Recognize Anhedonia and the Top 5 Ways to Treat It

How to Recognize Anhedonia and the Top 5 Ways to Treat It


We are used to hearing about happiness on one end of the mental health spectrum and depression on the other.

But now an expert has revealed there’s a new word — anhedonia — to describe the “blah” gray area in between.

Author Tanith Carey has written a book, Feeling Blah? Why Anhedonia Made You Joyless And How To Relive Life’s Highs, About The Feeling Of Life Without Fun.

She told FEMAIL, “Anhedonia – from the Greek “without pleasure” – is how you feel you are no longer able to enjoy life.

“You can also lose motivation to do what makes you feel good in the first place, creating a vicious cycle.

There’s a new word – anhedonia – to describe the “blah” gray area in between. Stock image used

“While it can be a symptom of major depression, it can also be a condition in its own right, in which case you’re not happy, not sad, just stuck in the gray space between where so many of us live our lives.”

Tanith said one of the reasons for feeling overwhelmed by modern life may be one reason, explaining: ‘Today’s life can also overload us with more information than the human brain was ever designed to process.

“This can overwhelm our brains with the stress hormone cortisol, which can dampen the action of the feel-good chemicals, causing a feeling of numbness.”

“But just because you’re not depressed, anhedonia is important. Anhedonia can be the red flag, your brain’s reward system isn’t working as well as it should.

“One more stressor and it could overflow an already filled cup.

“It obscures our enjoyment and perception of the world. Sex, our senses of smell and taste, our love of music and socializing can all be suppressed by anhedonia.”

Here Tanith reveals the five telltale signs of Anhedonia and how to beat it…

Author Tanith Carey has written a book about how to relive life's highlights when you've seen things in shades of gray

Author Tanith Carey has written a book about how to relive life’s highlights when you’ve seen things in shades of gray


Anhedonia can reduce the pleasure you get from touch, and that means sex and orgasm may not feel so good.

One reason may be a disruption in dopamine levels in the brain’s main reward system, which is controlled by the brain’s feel-good chemical dopamine.

Tanith said: ‘Not only does dopamine appear to play a key role in sexual desire – more commonly known as lust – but it also appears to be an orgasm accelerator, making climaxes faster and easier to achieve.

“So when you’re in a state of ‘blah,’ orgasms may take longer to reach, fade faster, or feel less intense.”

How to Beat the Blah:

Put on some music: Touch and sex can be enhanced by music. In experiments, robots were used to stroke the skin of volunteers’ forearms with a brush.

When music was played that the participants found sexy, they rated the touch as more sensual.


Does the world no longer seem to be in glorious technicolor and more in a palette of muted grays?

If you’re feeling “meh,” you might also see the world in more muted tones.

In an experiment by researchers at the British University Hospital in South Manchester, people who did not enjoy life were more likely to use the color gray to describe how they felt.

One possible reason may be that the photoreceptors in the retina of the eye are the most energy-consuming cells in the body.

If the brains of people with anhedonia are already on the backburner, their brains may not process the full range of colors coming into the eye, making the world look duller.

How to Beat the Blah:

Take a walk in the sunlight: Bright, natural light triggers the release of feel-good brain chemical dopamine from the retina and has been found to improve color vision. In addition, sunlight appears to increase the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.

A study of 68 healthy adults found that those most exposed to sunlight in the past 30 days had a higher density of dopamine receptors in the reward and movement areas of their brains.


One of the first signs of anhedonia is that it obscures your love of the activities you used to enjoy most, whether it’s a sport, interest, or favorite hobby.

Tanith explained, “Neuroscientists now know that enjoying a hobby or pastime is not just one thing.

“It’s divided into three parts: looking forward to doing it beforehand, enjoying it in the moment, and remembering it positively afterwards so you want to do it again.

“But if your brain’s reward system isn’t working as well as it should, you won’t get past the first stage.

“You stop looking forward to things and believe they will make you feel good, and you don’t do them at all, creating a vicious cycle.”

How to Beat the Blah:

To get your brain’s reward circuitry back on track, try an evidence-based technique called “behavioral activation therapy.”

This means consistently doing a little bit of what you used to enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it at first.

“The first rule of behavioral activation is that doing something you used to enjoy, no matter how small, is always better than doing nothing,” explains Tanith.

“The second is, don’t wait until you feel better to do it. Do it anyway. In other words, do the opposite of what anhedonia tells you to do.

“Even if you only spend five or ten minutes a week on a hobby you’ve given up, whether it’s playing an instrument or doing something creative, keep going.

“The evidence shows that if you keep going, the good feelings will eventually return, especially if you track your mood over the weeks.”


Hearing the best of your favorite song releases a dose of dopamine in your brain’s reward system.

This can also cause physical changes, such as the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end and goosebumps on your skin.

One theory is that the brain confuses the emotional response you have with fear and reacts in the same way.

But if your reward system isn’t working as well as it used to, your response will be dulled and your emotional response to your favorite tunes will decrease.

How to Beat the Blah:

“Anticipation — and the release of dopamine — are such an important part of musical enjoyment, ration yourself,” Tanith said.

Reset your musical dopamine levels by putting off listening to a favorite song until next week and then listening with intention.

“When you do that, pay attention to the tempo and pitch of the music, the sounds of the different instruments, while doing nothing else.”

There are other ways to refuel your enjoyment of your favorite tunes, Tanith adds.

“Studies show that singing along to a song and being part of a crowd of people at a concert or in a choir will also boost the amount of dopamine released in your brain’s reward pathway, so you should gradually start having fun again.” .’


How sensitive you are to flavors is also affected by changing levels of the feel-good chemicals in your brain.

“If there’s less dopamine released in your reward circuitry, you won’t crave or enjoy the foods you normally do,” says Tanith.

Hormone changes can also blunt our appreciation of taste.

Falling estrogen levels in middle age, for example, may cause women to produce less saliva needed to break down food into individual chemicals so they can be tasted.

Research from the Turkish University of Ankara found that 35 percent of women said their palate wasn’t as sensitive during menopause.

How to Beat the Blah:

Herbs and spices—and sharp-tasting foods like vinegar and lemon—are flavors that can penetrate and are highly registered by our brain, even when our sense of taste is dulled.

‘Other options are pepper, chili, cinnamon, garlic powder (if not too much salt) and ginger.

‘Feel leaf? Why Anhedonia Has Left You Joyless and How to Recapture Life’s Highs’ is published by Welbeck today, April 13

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories